Thursday, June 25, 2015

Our New Normal

One year ago this evening, we were resting at home and I was recovering from our egg retrieval surgery.  It was a long, exhausting day filled with so much excitement and anxiety.  I spent part of this evening re-reading my first post where we begged for prayer warriors to keep us in their prayers as we set out on this new adventure. I never could have imagined the support we would receive, the people we would reach and the reality we would come to know.  Personally, the blog was therapy without the awkward pauses and uncomfortable conversation with a complete stranger with tiny glasses, encrypting your words and silently not judging you…Mostly, it was an outlet for me to vent.  

Things have really come full circle in a year.  I dreamed, for so long, of the day we would become parents and 1 year ago today our hope had never been so alive.

A year later and I am writing this update as I watch our handsome boy sleeping beside us.  With a full belly and an evening full of snuggles and covered in kisses, he is finally here.  And, I couldn’t be more thankful…or exhausted (in the best possible way of course).

Happy Egg-iversary
Since I’ve taken a hiatus from blogging to soak up every millisecond with my son, I thought I’d catch you up starting with the obligatory “birth story”.  As most already know, our son came a little early (and on his own time).

Meet Nash Everett.  Born February 28th at 11:45PM.  6 lbs 10 oz, 19” of perfection.

Really, I want to provide proof that miracles DO happen and they happen to average, ordinary people – like us.  At 11 weeks in our pregnancy, after struggling for a couple years to conceive, we were given a 1% chance that our baby would be born “normal”.  Don’t get me started on what that even means – that’s for another night and a bottle of wine. Our odds got better as we went through the various testing but we were never out of the weeds and towards the end were just waiting for his arrival to see what, if anything, would be wrong.

We were scheduled for a C-section on March 4th, a Wednesday.  The Saturday before we were scheduled to meet our baby, Chris and I made dinner reservations to celebrate our final days as just us. We were headed to our favorite Italian joint, 518 West, armed with our lists of boy and girl names.  We checked in at the hostess stand and were surprised when the manager gave us a giftcard to cover our meal.  Our "last supper" had been picked up by Chris' parents.  We were thrilled.  And, then I peed myself.

Or so I thought. I looked at Chris and said that I thought the baby had jumped on my bladder and I needed to go to the bathroom. I did my business and when I stood up from the public bathroom squat it kept coming.  It was then that I happily realized I still had control of my bladder while simultaneously panicking because I had control of my bladder.  There is liquid gushing - but I am not peeing - oh my god, water breaking.  I went back out to tell Chris, who was still waiting on our table.  He freaked.  And, I mean he literally panicked.  And, then my water kept breaking.  While I was standing there.  It was gushing.  Just like in the movies – even though everyone told me it doesn’t happen like it does in the movies. I remained surprisingly calm throughout everything.  I told Chris to get the car and went back to the bathroom to try to clean up.  I actually ended up talking with one of my best friends who I had texted and we decided that it was indeed my water breaking.  The conversation was actually a lot more colorful than that and I can only imagine what the women coming in and out were thinking. 

In the meantime, Chris was having problems getting our car from valet because the guy hadn’t had a chance to bring our keys back to the stand. So no one could locate our car keys. Chris was mid-panick telling everyone in the restaurant that we were having a baby.  When I finally came out of the restroom it was like they rolled out a red carpet for me to the door.  I barely noticed everyone staring and the few “congratulations” and “good lucks” as we left.

We headed home to collect our things, kiss the pups and make our way to the hospital.  Because we were scheduled for a C, neither of us had actually packed a bag yet so the chaotic scene that ensued in our bedroom was pretty comical.  We got to the hospital and checked into our room about 9PM.  Labor was definitely progressing and I was one of the lucky ones experiencing the gut-wrenching, bring-you-to-your-knees, back labor.  

Our last picture before Nash arrived
They still had to do blood work before they could start anesthesia.  Not to mention, Dr. V wasn’t on call and I was freaking out about that.   Dr. V was the first doc that tried to knock us up and stuck with us through everything so he was the only one I felt comfortable with cutting into me.  Luckily, the midwife was finally able to get a hold of him and he showed up, unannounced and surprised us to the point of tears!  That man is a god-send.  He showed up.  He actually showed up.  On his night off. He asked me why I was crying and all I could say is “You came.  You actually came”.  His response – “Of course I’m here.  I wouldn’t have missed it”.

Dr. V with Nash
Chris came back to the OR once they administered the anesthesia.  And, a few minutes later the OR erupted in cheers and laughs and with tears in his eyes, Chris told me we had a son.  That moment, hearing the love of my life, telling me we had a little boy, solidified every reason I did not find out the sex during the pregnancy.  It was the single best surprise in my life (aside from our proposal). Our little guy was born into a party in that OR and I’ve never felt such an overwhelming, intense amount of love for my sweet boy and loving hubby.    

We had so many visitors in those first few days and it's a bit of a blur.  Lots of nursing, lots of snuggles, lots of kisses, lots of "how do we do this" and "what do we do now". And, then they sent us home on Wednesday, March 4th – the day we were supposed to meet our baby.

I am proud to say we have survived the first 16 weeks of parenthood.  Our kid has mastered the art of the blow-out and many a onesie has fallen victim – I’ve even fallen victim.  There is some switch inside you that flips when you have a kid where bodily fluids no longer gross you out. Despite the poop and the barf, our Nash is probably the coolest kid I’ve ever met.  

He is seriously the sweetest baby.  And, he LOVES to cuddle – we call it “snuzzle time” in our house.  Some of my favorite moments of maternity leave were curling back up with him hunkered down on my chest after he ate “breast-feast” (as Chris calls it) to take a snuzzle-nap.  

There is also something so amazing about a good neck hug.  When he wraps those chubbly little hands around my neck and buries his face into my collarbone – I melt.  I stop what I’m doing and just take it all in because I know these moments are fleeting. 

Those middle of the night feedings became pretty special too.  Just me and him, the hum of the humidifier and the stillness of the night. I talked with him, prayed with him, stared at his little face, held his tiny hands and cried just thinking about how lucky and blessed we are.  I miss these moments already - we lucked out with a kid that started sleeping through the night around 8 weeks!

I know you must be wondering what ever happened with the hygroma.  And, the answer is nothing.  We have a little miracle babe that beat those odds and is by all means pretty perfect, despite some reflux.  Our pediatrician will continue to monitor his development closely, but all signs are pointing to perfect.

It is so surreal that just one year ago we were dreaming of today.  Disney wasn’t lying – dreams really do come true.  Miracles really do happen.  Our sweet monster was worth every tear, every heart ache and every angst-ridden moment over the last few years.  I wake up every day excited to see his gummy grin and feel those little arms grasp my neck. And, this feeling, this love is what life is all about.  

His face every day I pick him up from "School"
Happiest boy there ever was
First Father's Day

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Countdown is on

There are so many updates to bring you and I have just been in a crazy whirlwind of preparing for the perfect chaos that is about to be our lives.

In our last scan with Duke the Placenta Previa had not corrected itself and was actually slightly worse (only by a few millimeters).  What’s a few millimeters in the grand scheme of things?!  I guess when it comes to PP it’s a big deal and because my placenta is getting closer to my cervix versus going away it would be too risky to do natural labor.  Duke shared the results with our OB and together, as a team, we all made the call to schedule a C-section. Because this pregnancy has been anything but a cake walk and we fought so hard to even get pregnant, we are doing everything to minimize or eliminate any risks. Our goal is to get this baby out as safely as possible.  Which brings me to our baby's due date (god willing):


Only 2 weeks until we are holding our sweet little man or baby girl.  Shit just got real…well it got real when we actually scheduled the date. I had a momentary freak-out sesh and Chris naturally went and celebrated with beers with his colleagues.  Freak-out aside,  it’s very surreal that our lives will change drastically and in the best possible ways in 2, very short weeks.

These next couple of weeks are going to fly by and I am still a little anxious that everything won’t get done.  In reality, is anyone ever fully ready for this ride?  I’m willing to guess that’s a resounding NO!  I have 10 more work days until I’m out for 12 weeks and I think I have more anxiety around work preparations than home preparations.  I hate leaving things undone and unfinished so the last few weeks I've been busy trying to acclimate myself to my new job (yep - that also happened in the midst of the baby chaos) and get prepped for being out for 3 months.  That is a near impossible task, but I have 10 days to make the impossible…well, possible.

On the home front, the “nesting” that’s supposed to kick in has not.  I’d be happy if it did any day now because our entire house looks like a hurricane came through, and I just can’t even fathom trying to tackle any of it.  I guess that’s why people make professions out of organizing other people’s lives.  Normally, I am one of the most organized people I know but when it comes to all this baby stuff I am really overwhelmed. I know it will come together eventually and I have the hubby to help (and my Momma when she gets here). 

I am doing my best to get the nursery set up and usable, and Chris has been running with all the nursery projects.  It really is the best thing ever to have a handy husband because he is making the baby's room exactly how I imagined! He is also the baby gear engineer and has been getting all the stuff taken out of boxes and set up.

BEFORE - this was the nursery closet before Chris got to work on it...
AFTER - So thankful for a handy hubby!  Now I need to organize it!
We spent our Valentine’s Day spoiling the baby which made me incredibly giddy.  We finally went back to Buy Buy Baby-after that horrifying registering experience-and tried to “complete” the registry.  We still had a couple of necessities and big ticket items that we needed and with the due date being moved up we are running out of time!  That store still overwhelms me and we still ended up forgetting a couple of things despite having a list.  Thank god for girlfriends, specifically Kelly, who is making one last trip with me to make sure I have everything we will need right off the bat. Our goal is to have as much as possible in place and ready for the babe by this weekend. I want to spend our last weekend (only two more weekends just the 2 of us and the pups) really focusing on us and our marriage and spending some quality time together. 

We did get some quality time together last week when I had to spend a day in the hospital.  Chris was by my side the entire time.  It wasn't anything crazy.  I caught a GI bug and was severely dehydrated. When we called my OB they sent us straight to the ER who then sent us to Labor and Delivery since I am over 34 weeks. I didn't realize dehydration causes pre-term labor so they hooked us up to the machines to monitor my contractions and the baby’s heart rate.  I got fluids which helped minimize the contractions and some IV anti-nausea drugs so I could keep from projectile…I’ll stop there – you get the picture. We were in one of the postpartum rooms so we got to take it for a test run before we are there for our baby’s birthday in a couple of weeks.

Speaking of the hospital, we also did a tour a couple weeks ago.  I am really glad we did one and highly recommend it to any other first time preggers debating signing up.  It helped ease some of the anxiety on where to go and what to do when the baby decides to come (ours could still decide to come on his or her own). You also get to tour the labor and delivery rooms, OR, nursery, postpartum rooms, and Chris’ favorite – the “DAD” room.  That last one is literally a room where dads get to sneak off for a break to get snacks and drinks.  I was surprised by how nice the facilities and rooms are and feel better knowing we are in good hands.

We also picked our pediatrician and enrolled in daycare.  Checking things off our list!

Two of my favorite weekends so far this year have been our 2 shower weekends.  Kelly and Kristin hosted a shower for me in Raleigh.  It was the perfect day and celebration of Baby O.  I was so overwhelmed by all the love that surrounds this sweet little life. It was even more special because all 3 of the babe’s grandmas were able to make it.  My Momma flew in from Florida, my MIL flew in from Arizona and the babe’s GiGi (Chris’ Step Mom) came up from Mooresville.  My MIL’s girlfriends also drove up to Raleigh to help us celebrate. Talk about being floored by all the love and support! I am still amazed by all the generosity and feel so incredibly blessed to have these people not only in my life but in my baby’s life. 

My momma stayed with us that week to help out with nursery projects – she is the most creative person I know and can take the ordinary and make it unique and perfect.  She added her touch to some of the projects I had started and just couldn't figure out how to finish.  Thank god for Mommas! 

The next weekend we had our Couples Charlotte shower.  So many people helped to make that shower perfect – The Eakers, the Pucketts, my sisters (Kenna and Kels) and my Momma and Daddy.  I've known the Eakers most of my life and Cassie happens to be not only Kelsey’s best friend of 20 years but also our 4th Bradshaw sister!  The Eakers are probably some of the most giving and supportive people I've ever and will ever know.  Their hearts are overflowing with love and they have always accepted my family and I into their lives.  They opened their home to our friends and family and helped us shower our sweet addition with more love and generosity than we could have imagined.  We were so overwhelmed by all the people that came out to help us celebrate.  My family from SC came up, including my grandparents! The baby’s Auntie J flew in from Philly and Uncle Ev came up from SC.  The list goes on.  It is an incredibly special feeling when you look around and are standing in a room full of so many people you love and that have been in your life for upwards of 20+ years.  It still feels very surreal and we feel so blessed to have the support system we do!

We have definitely been busy since the first of the year! 

Wednesday we will be 36 weeks.  Baby is fully cooked and I couldn't feel more blessed.  The kicks and punches and rolls remind me daily of the miracle I’m growing in my belly.  They also remind me not to take one second for granted – even the less than thrilling parts of pregnancy.  I was brought to tears the other night just thinking about how incredibly blessed we are that we are approaching the end of this leg of the journey, in tact, stronger than when we started down this windy road. There was a time I thought this would never happen for us and I know it doesn't happen for everyone so I try to appreciate those ugly parts as much as the miraculous ones. The heartburn, back pain, contractions and feet in the rib cage are easy to complain about, but I think about the life I’m carrying and can’t help but thank god for all of it – every single moment of this experience. I can’t believe in 2 weeks we will be meeting the little person we created.  There are so many thoughts and emotions – far too many to write about – but, I pray we provide a solid foundation for this child to learn to love and believe in his or her dreams.

2 OB appointments and 1 scan with Duke is all that stands between us and meeting our little miracle of life! 

Bring on March 4th and the perfectly imperfect chaos that comes with it! 

Extra puppy snuggles before the babe is here